SlingTV, the first few months

Screenshot from 2015-03-18 07:55:42I was psyched when I heard about SlingTV. I had actually used a Slingbox a few years ago to watch content off my Tivo from hotel rooms. This was before Netflix had a great library or Amazon had dabbled in content and the only option seemed to be iTunes … I actually watched half of the first season of “24” on an iPod classic (ya, the one with the 2.5” screen) … how the days have changed.
Here’s the back story. I moved from a city with Charter cable in August of last year to a rural location in New Mexico. I’m lucky to have 12Mbps DSL, via CenturyLink, for streaming and I also put an HD antenna on my house to pick up over-the-air broadcast networks. Not part of this post, but I also have a 4/2 wireless ISP connection, via Higher Speed Internet, as the DSL upstream isn’t robust enough for me to work from home.
I was very confused and a bit upset when I realized that I didn’t have any option for Monday Night Football, as it dawned on me one Monday evening that it had moved to cable only (ESPN). Up to that point, I hadn’t realized that as I just took it for granted that the NFL would at least leave Monday Night Football alone on a broadcast network. Sadly, I can’t even go to the local sports restaurant/pizza place (The Pizza Barn in Edgewood) as it closes at 8pm.
So, I hear about SlingTV and immediately sing up for e-mail updates. I was invited to be an early adopter and, needless to say, I was watching ESPN as soon as my account was verified and I had downloaded the Roku app (at this time, SlingTV is available on Roku and Fire Stick (subject of a future post?).
After having it for a month or two with SlingTV and March Madness upon us here are my gripes. No pause, no rewind, awful commercial free music spots (at least on ESPN).
No pause – what? I can’t pause the basketball game while I answer the phone, take a bathroom break, or get another beer? I can do that on my Tivo … have been able to since the late 90s.
No rewind – what? I can’t rewind to see that awesome dunk? I have been able to do that on my Tivo since the last 90s.
Awful commercial free music …. so during commercial periods for the local franchise there is an ESPN logo animation that indicates “Commercial Pause … we will be right back” and the music during the logo animation is AWFUL. Makes me want to turn the TV completely off and not watch the game. Combine that with the inability to pause or rewind and I find myself staring at the logo so I won’t miss it when the game comes back on.
However, the experience is positive.  I can watch sports live on ESPN (provided I can stand the AWFUL music), FoodTV and a few other channels (which I have not watched much other than ESPN).  To be perfectly honest … if I could just get al-a-carte ESPN, I would. I would even consider micro-payments for individual games as I don’t watch anything but live games anyway.
I will add the SEC network to my base SlingTV in the Fall for TAMU Football if another option hasn’t presented itself. Currently waiting to see if those networks will go default app over-the-top or if they will all require some bundle like SlingTV or new upcoming Apple TV offering.  My pipe dream will be buy what I want with or without commercials directly from whoever is producing it (NFL, NCAA, etc.) or directly from the teams themselves (would be sweet to support TAMU football directly) on a season or game by game basis!  It will happen.  We have the technology (broadband pipes permitting) to support live games, multiple camera angles, pause rewind, player focused content, etc.  I would pay $5 to $10 per game if I could.  Maybe NFL/NCAA/MLB/MBA/ETC will wise up.

3 thoughts on “SlingTV, the first few months”

  1. After a promising start, DirectTV/Sling dropped the ball during the Final Four which was available via Sling on TBS. Towards the end of the first game (Duke vs. Michigan State) I started having issues (as did the rest of the Sling subscriberhood). I was able to reboot my restart the Sling app a few times and get the game back, but I was missing more than I was watching and the quality went to the toilet. I ended up leaving home and heading to a local restaurant that I knew would have the games. I did this after already starting to cook dinner. So I ended up having to spend money at a restaurant, including a decent tip as I stayed after closing to watch the end of the second game (Wisconsin vs. Kentucky).
    The following Monday, I contacted Sling to request a one or two month credit for my hassle and was denied. I cancelled my service. Hopefully the Apple offering will be along soon.

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